'What the hell is the point of Congress?' MSNBC's Chris Hayes lashes out as 5 Democrats help the GOP protect the US role in the Yemen war

'What the hell is the point of Congress?' MSNBC's Chris Hayes lashes out as 5 Democrats help the GOP protect the US role in the Yemen war

While a vote in the U.S. Senate to push forward a War Powers Resolution on Wednesday resulted in applause from peace advocates and critics of the U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen, five Democrats in the U.S. House stirred outrage as they helped Republicans in the chamber pass a rule—attached to massive Farm Bill legislation—that effectively killed the hopes of voting on its version of the resolution for the remainder of the congressional session.


The procedural vote in the Senate, said resolution co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), will help send a message to the world that the chamber will soon end its support for "this brutal, horrific war in Yemen led by an undemocratic, despotic regime."

But in the House, say critics, the five Democrats—Reps. Jim Costa (Calif.), Al Lawson (Fla.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Dutch Rupperberger (Md.), and David Scott (Ga.)—sent the exact opposite message by backing the GOP-led effort to kill the resolution.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes was just one of the journalists and other experts following the story who expressed outrage about the House vote.

"There is literally no domestic constituency of actual voters who are agitating for the US to continue facilitating the bombardment and starvation of Yemen," Hayes tweeted. He added, "What a despicable sham."

The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reported that after the vote it was the "angriest at leadership I've seen progressive House aides and members in a long time." And with the final vote 206-203—a margin where the Democratic votes made the crucial difference—one of those aides told him that was "not a coincidence."

And Matt Fuller of the Huffington Post added:

Stein asked Rep. Peterson directly why he voted the way he did, to which the congressman responded, in part: "I don't know a damn thing about" the war in Yemen but dismissed the resolution to end U.S. complicity in the world's worst humanitarian disaster as an off-topic "tangent."

"Just to be extremely clear about what happened here," explained Stein in a separate tweet: "The farm bill was going to pass regardless of the outcome of this vote. In other words, these 5 Democrats could have voted both for the farm bill and against blocking a vote on Yemen. It's not like they were incompatible."

Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs for Peace Action, said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, his fellow Republicans, and the five Democrats who voted with them "are condemning more Yemeni civilians to die horrible deaths, and condemning our nation as a democracy in name only. History will not look kindly on those who abdicated their constitutional duty to debate and vote our nation's wars in the name of petty politics and shoring up future campaign contributions from the arms industry and pro-Saudi lobbyists."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.